Making the Most of the Final Days of Summer
Are you ready to hit the ground running this September? With 50% of nonprofits receiving a majority of their annual donations between October and December, it’s not too late to ensure you’re prepared for the final quarter of fundraising. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for a successful end of the year as you head into the home stretch of summer.
- Lead generation. Remember those lists of identified prospects suggested by colleagues, Board Members, and staff members that you swore you’d look into? Take the time now to research, qualify, and prioritize these prospects within your portfolio. While some of these newly qualified prospects may not be ready for an ask this year, you can get the conversation started in preparation for a 2020 ask.
- Finalize your communications timeline. Coming into the fall with an already established timeline for digital appeals, mailings, social media outreach, and other major fundraising communications will allow you to ensure your prospects receive strategic and frequent touchpoints. Don’t forget to factor in a strategy for Giving Tuesday (December 3, 2019) into your timeline. In 2018, Giving Tuesday raised $380M in online dollars!
- Refresh your templates and boilerplate language. Use this time, when you have a clear mind for creativity, to revisit and revive your follow-up email templates, frequently used proposal language, and other canned content. Partner with your programmatic team to update impact data and other statistics, confirm your fundraising language is supporting leadership’s vision for your organization, and consider utilizing emotional appeal in your writing.
- Update your dashboard. Take a step back to ensure your metrics are current and your dashboard contains all the graphs and charts needed to track your progress against end-of-year goals. Suggested baseline metrics you should be tracking include: the value of your pipeline discounted by prospects’ giving probability, cumulative dollars raised by month compared to 2018, and the number of outreaches made (meetings, calls, and emails).
- Tidy up the database. Are all your prospect meeting notes entered? Are your opportunities updated to reflect accurate ask amounts and giving probabilities? Is there a pile of returned mail begging for updated mailing addresses? Take the time now to ensure your database is fully updated and ready to go.
- Recruit an intern. As college students head back to school, they’re also seeking internship opportunities. Consider hiring a part-time intern to take care of non-revenue generating tasks that take you away from your frontline fundraising activities. Examples include prospect research, acknowledgement letters, and scheduling. If your organization doesn’t have the financial resources for an intern, consider offering academic credit.
Although these are not the only ways you can prepare for end-of-year fundraising, carving out time to address at least a few of these suggestions can save you both time and effort. Remember, every minute counts in the fourth quarter!
As we approach September, we’d love to hear from you – how else are you preparing for the final months of the year? Engage with Orr Group on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com.